On Ted Koppel: Well, I didn't get to see Ted Koppel. He was speaking at Border's Books in Dallas last night and signing his new book. Oh well.
On the recount: So they're doing this hand recount in Florida. They have this highly sophisticated mechanism for determining the intent of the voter. It's all rubbish. They're holding ballots up to the light and guessing. Can't decide? Ehh, put it in the Gore stack. They're doing or considering doing this only in four counties, all of which Gore won by a lot--so they're only trying to do it in areas where Gore stands to gain. A lot of these people didn't know they had screwed up until the Democratic phones started ringing. Furthermore, the decision to start was made by a Democratic committee, the particular counties were chosen by Democrats, and the counters themselves are Democrats. Reminds of Johnny Carson's old "Great Karnak" routine where he'd hold the envelope to his forehead and try to guess what it contained. Also reminds me of Slobodan Milosovich's recent election. The machines couldn't decipher the moronic ballots from the moronic voters, so now we'll leave it up to human error. Don't forget, hundreds of thousands of voters in West Palm Beach were able to read the directions and correctly fill out their ballots without choosing 3, 4, or 5 candidates. Also, look at any other county in the country, you'll find thousands of votes which were judged invalid by the ballot-counting machine. I can't stress it enough, READ THE FECKIN DIRECTIONS, if you screw up, ask for a new ballot, if you still can't figure it out, well, I'm sorry but we probably don't need your pea-brain determining our next President. If you screw up on your college boards and realize it later, you can't go back and redo it. And to say these people have been disenfranchised is ludicrous. They went and they voted. Sounds like they had voting rights to me; too bad they weren't responsible enough to even get that right. It's also a shame all those old people believed Gore when he said Bush wanted to take away their money! There was not a way in the world Bush was going to have ANY effect on their benefits. A few days ago I said there were hundreds of separate issues concerning this election, well, now there are thousands.
On Colin Powell: I wasn't totally aware of this until a few days ago. George Bush has already said that Former General Colin Powell will be his Secretary of State. Wow. Here's a man who, had he run for the Republican nomination, would have been someone to rally behind and possibly unite the country. I understand a lot of people don't like Bush for some reason (not sure why, unless it's just ignorance), perhaps Powell could have moved past that for the good of the country. Regardless, I'm glad to see he may serve in the White House after all. He's unquestionably popular and just someone to actually admire.
On lawyers: They're flying the lawyers in to Florida from all over the country. Like flys to shit. One of the things I don't like about the way the modern Democratic party does things is that they like to impose their will, and they like to do so through litigation rather than legislation. I think the enormous and ever-growing Democratic legal team assembled in Florida (numbering in the hundreds right now) is indicative of this.
On Bush: I had totally forgotten this. I was at the very first Dallas Stars game. October 21st, 1993 with my then-roommate Steve. Stars won, 6-4 against Detroit. There was a laser light show. After a few minutes, we noticed there were much better seats close to the ice open so we moved way down. Two rows up from us sat Jerry Jones (at that time a hero), George W. Bush, Ross Perot Jr., and a few others we didn't recognize. We actually didn't think that much of it, and Ann Richards was the Governor at the time, so we didn't talk to them or anything. Besides, they were kind of loud and obnoxious.
On the new speed limit: It appears the speed limit will be 60 mph and affect metropolitan north Texas, meaning Ft. Worth and Dallas. Maybe Denton. I guess it won't affect me much. I've been stopped three times in the last two months on 35 West, so I'm paranoid about going even over 60 out there anyway (I maintain that one of the times I was stopped I was doing UNDER the speed limit). The roads I want to ride on my motorcycle aren't 70 mph roads anyway--they're more like roads that tell you to slow down to 30 for that curve which I'll be taking at 50. Still, it's disturbing to see the EPA taking this measure. I'm not convinced this is going to clean up the air much.
On college kids: I've heard two stories now about college students voting as many as five times in the recent election. Voter fraud. Wow, one of them even said, into the camera, that he thought he was "doing the right thing for his candidate"!! Uh huh.
On red vs. blue: Check this out. Bush-won counties vs. Gore-won counties.
On Gore: I've talked to a couple of people who voted for Gore (in the Democratic primary) and now kind of wish they hadn't. I think we're kind of seeing what he's made of, and how he'll do anything to win. Also, I think some people are now more aware of the issues than they were when they voted.
On Hillary Clinton: Well, there is already a "Hillary for President" campaign finding its roots. Let me say, I have nothing against having a female president. And certainly, Mrs. Clinton is well-known and probably has the best chance of any woman of being elected. And the Clinton sex scandal did wonders for her popularity. But one of the things I really thank Congressional Democrats (and Republicans, of course) for is stuffing the Clinton family's (let's face it) nationalized healthcare proposal back in the early 1990s. I'm reasonably sure I'd have to vote against Hillary in 2004, but admittedly, I've seen nothing of her specific platform.
On the Presidency: One thing is certain. Whether Bush or Gore finally walks away with this thing, it's going to be a lame Presidency. Neither of these administrations is going to have any kind of mandate. We're going to have a President who half the people don't even think should be there. In '92, 82 percent of all the people in the country didn't cast a vote for Clinton, but nobody really disputed the fact that he got a plurality and won way more Electoral and popular votes than Bush and Perot. 2000 will be different, even with the winner receiving both a higher percentage and a higher total number of votes than Clinton in '92. When you factor in that the Senate will be split 50/50 or 49/51, it becomes obvious that not a lot is going to happen in the next four years. I contend that that is a good thing. When nothing gets done, they can't pass a bunch of new laws (don't we have enough already?), and they can't spend a bunch of money on new things. That clicks for me. I believe that the choice of President that we're negotiating for so fiercely now has, ironically, become a lot less important. Ultimately, if Gore wins he'll be shut out of most of the things he wants to do, which I like, and he'll likely be a one-term President.
On my father's idea: Friday morning my father realized the best thing that could happen. Keep in mind, this was 4 or 5 days ago. Bush should have conceded while he was ahead. Now, he's not ahead any more and the Presidency isn't worth having. Go back to Thursday (November 9th) though. Bush is the tentative winner. Gore's people are gearing up for legal battles all over the place. If Bush concedes, it's the most statesmen-like action since George Washington was asked to be the king and instead said he'd be the president and was asked to be the president for life and instead said he'd serve for a maximum of two terms, and did it for the good of the country. It leaves him strong and fresh and ready for the 2004 election, and leaves Gore looking like a litigious bastard who kind of backed into the election. Basically, it gives Gore what he's probably going to get anyway, a useless Presidency, only, it makes Bush look very good, magnanimous even, rather than making him look just like Gore (the way he does now, 5 days and tons of legal wrangling later). I think it was a great idea. Look, Gore is going to hurt the Democratic party anyway, but Bush doesn't look all that rosy right now either. They're both in a no-win situation. The best thing that Bush could have done was concede early. It would have been a master stroke. We talked about it Friday night and the very next thing we saw on TV was that Baker was seeking an injunction. Oh well...
On the Electoral College: Much has been said about abolishing the Electoral College by amending the Constitution. While I like the idea of 3rd party campaigns having more of an impact and possbily infusing the American political consciousness with new ideas, I no longer think it's a good idea and I don't think it will ever happen. Here's why. First, the minority vote could become less meaningful. Next, in the event of a close popular vote, our election woes would be magnified incredibly... What we have now is that the problem is basically contained, it's limited to Florida. Imagine a recount of every vote in the country. Now imagine a MANUAL recount of every vote in the country. Yah. Next, Al Gore didn't even have to go to California once--he knew he had it no problem, all 54 Electoral votes, that's why they call it the left coast. Now, you might think that a popular vote would require Gore (for example) to campaign in California, as winning with 58 percent would still mean Bush got millions of votes. Actually, I believe after reading some articles on the subject that the popular vote would make it so the entire campaign was waged on the television. Everything would be centralized. The electoral college forces the candidate to campaign in many parts of the country. An amendment is improbable because of the Senate vote needed and the fact that less-populated states would lose basically all voting power. What I would support is earlier mailing of absentee ballots, particularly those sent overseas. And universal closing times for all polls everywhere in the entire country, including Hawaii and Alaska. Have it so every vote MUST be in at the same time, absentees, West coast, East coast. Finally, prohibit any news organization, whether web-based, radio-based or television-based, from publishing any results prior to the closing of the polls. If prohibiting exit polls altogether is necessary to prevent unscrupulous news organizations from trying to be the first to post results, then that should be done as well. Don't forget, Gore was announced the winner of Florida while those in the other time zone still had time to vote--since voting is a hassle, this undoubtedly altered the outcome by at least a few thousand (and I'm sure some of those would actually have been able to read the directions on the ballots). Who can now say that your vote doesn't count simply because we use the Electoral College?
On abortion: It really annoys me when someone says that if you're pro-choice you're actually pro-abortion. I'm not of the opinion abortion is a good thing. Late term abortions, in fact, are kind of horrible. Abortions performed 6 weeks after conception? I won't shed a tear over that. I don't think masturbation or contraception is murder. Legally, a baby is not a living human being until it is born. Unborn babies have no legal standing. They cannot inherit. They are not people. It annoys me almost as much when other people assume that anyone who votes Republican must be a pro-lifer. That's almost as idiotic. Here's what I am not for: federally-funded abortions. I don't want the government to pay for your mistakes. Screw that. With the split Congress, we likely won't have any radical ideas or Supreme Court appointees and so won't see an overturning of RvW or federally-funded abortions. Did you know... currently there are thousands and thousands of 2nd-generation welfare recipients who receive Viagra absolutely free courtesy of tax payers? YUP. Does this seem slightly... umm... counter-productive to you? Maybe a bit unfair? To me too. Stop federal funding of Viagra prescriptions for people who've never worked a day in their lives!!
On loser pays: Loser pays just means that in a private dispute, if you sue me for some frivolous reason, and you lose or the case is thrown out, YOU pay for all MY legal costs as well as your own. This is used in Europe. What it does is automatically discourage frivolous lawsuits. It doesn't stop you from trying to sue me, and I still lose my time (which can be devestating in and of itself--for my father for instance, time is money... missing one day of work means $1000 he can't make, and $600 (on average) he has to pay anyway), but if it's a ridiculous suit you have no way of winning, I'm free to hire my best lawyer to either have the case dismissed or fight and win the case--and you end up losing big, because you're liable for all of my legal costs. No more lame settlements. Legitimate cases are not discouraged--if you think you have a good chance of winning and your case won't be thrown out the first time a judge looks at it, you have every right to go forward. Obviously the liberal lawyers (the US has three quarters of all the world's lawyers) don't want to see this happen. So it won't. Professional juries is another story. That won't happen, either.
On Ralph Nader: This guy ran a legitimate campaign. He had a solid platform of issues. He had his own views. He convinced people. He's not a member of the Green party, but got their nomination. He got 2 1/2 million honest votes. He brought out some new ideas to many people, which I think is great, even if I don't agree with many of them. He was vastly underfunded. He was hurt by the Electoral process. And he was virtually arrested trying to get into the Presidential debate. The Bush camp didn't want to see Browne in the debates, the Gore camp didn't want to see Nader in the debates, and basically nobody (not even the Reform party) wanted to see Buchanan. Al Gore's campaign did everything in its power to scrape Nader's supporters out from under him. And now I hear people blaming Nader voters for Al Gore's problems? HOW DO YOU GET THAT WAY?!? I didn't hear many Clintonites complaining that Perot split the vote in '92 and got Clinton elected. Leave Ralph Nader alone, he may be to the left of even Gore on some things, but he's certainly not nearly as slimy as Gore. Nader didn't steal votes, Gore did, with a campaign budget almost a thousand times larger.
On the economy: Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve Board and one of the most influential men in the world, has been as responsible as anyone for what is now a relatively strong and stable economy. The concensus is that the economy is going to tank somewhat in the next few years. It'll go sooner under Gore than Bush, but many indications are that it's going into a recession or "correction". Alan Greenspan is also the man who pleaded with Congress to earmark the budget surplus not for extra spending as the Dems wanted, and not for tax breaks as the GOP wanted, but for debt repayment. They barely heard him.
On Democrats and Rebublicans: I guess there's this weird idea that any one who's "poor" (whatever the hell anyone means by that) ought to be a Democrat and anyone who's "rich" (again, pretty ambiguous) is probably a Republican and that rich people/Republicans hate poor people. I think you have to divorce your own interests from your political thoughts when deciding what you believe to be right. I also get the impression that making a good living is looked at suspiciously by some people. Like some people think those who make more money are getting more than their fair share. It almost starts to border on Communism. Actually, those who make a lot of money pay WAAAY more than their fair share. They pay for this capitalistic country's increasingly socialistic government. They pay a much higher percentage. They get much less back in return. Those who pay very little in taxes receive most of the benefits while those who carry the "poor" on the strength of their tax dollars receive almost nothing. It just so happens that there are far more people willing to take from the government than give, and that's why there are more Democrats than Republicans. Microsoft (almost a political body itself) and Bill Gates notwithstanding, making a good living is not evil in and of itself! I'm wondering just who it is that decides that some people aren't fit to perform any job and so must become wards of the state. My father tells stories of people who come to the clinic asking him to sign something that says they can't work and need federal assistance... FOREVER. Of course, he doesn't sign and tells them to look elsewhere. We've somehow convinced people that the government is there to take care of anyone who doesn't feel like doing it themselves. We've convinced people that governmental coercion is fine when used to wrest funds from the well-to-do in order to pay for the ne'er-do-wells. We've convinced people to give up some freedoms, some liberty in exchange for some security. We've convinced people that if it does any good or saves just one life, it's worth it, even if it restricts millions of others. We've legislated morality (and don't get me started on the Drug War). We're warming the frog up little by little.
Miscellaneous: So, what have the Democrats brought recently? Lessee, the all-out assaults on Microsoft and "Big Tobacco" and the possibility of internet taxes...... I've heard that Al Gore underwent voice training to try and tone down his "hick" accent many years ago. I wonder, would he have been nominated if he still sounded like a Tennessee Baptist?...... What if Larry Ellison or Bill Gates ran for President? I imagine they could command billions of dollars for their campaign. I think they could probably buy themselves a place in the White House, so to speak. In fact, they might be able to rewrite the political foundation in America.
Well, that's enough for this week. What a terrible election this has been. It truly is a stalemate in every sense of the word, no matter who gets in. So maybe everyone should be happy?? Ahh, gridlock, glorious gridlock...
I will close by talking about local politics. State, county, and local politics are what will have a real impact on our lives, in the short term anyway. For instance, I don't live in Dallas, but the Trinity River project, the sorry state of the DISD, and the bid for the 2012 Olympic games are big issues facing Dallas voters that will affect them all.
I have the results of the presidential election where I live, Denton county.
Republicans Kay Bailey Hutchison and Phil Gramm (the only member of Congress in the 20th Century to resign from Congress and to seek re-election as a member of another political party--I've met his wife Dr. Wendy Gramm) remain our Senators. Incumbent Republican Mac Thornberry defeated Curtis Clinesmith (who makes his home about a mile from where I live) for the right to represent the 13th district (where I live) in the House. George Bush remains the Governor of Texas, though Lieutenant Governor Rick Perry will take over if Bush wins the election in court. Euline Brock is the mayor of Denton. Know your congressmen, people, wherever you live, and watch your local politics. There are so many ways to get involved, and I for one am going to take it upon myself to be informed and active from now on.